Two charged in connection with searches made in Cirencester and Swindon in 2020

Two people have been charged with offences related to an investigation that saw searches in Cirencester and Swindon in September 2020.

Charges were authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service following an investigation by the Constabulary’s Major Crime Investigation Team. 

Elliot Benham, 23 and of Wingfield, Kingsdown in Swindon and Sophie Harvey, 23 and of St Mary’s Road, Cirencester, have jointly been charged with:

  • Procure a poison / noxious thing to cause a miscarriage, contrary to Section 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861
  • Concealment of the birth of a child, contrary to Section 60 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861
  • Commit an act with intent to pervert the course of public justice contrary to common law, namely disposing of the body of a baby

In addition to these, Harvey was also charged with procuring her own miscarriage by poison/use of instrument, contrary to Section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1 September 2018 and 1 December 2018.

Benham and Harvey were released on bail to attend Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 5 January.

In England abortions are legal up to 24 weeks’ gestation if carried out by a registered medical practitioner, and can be carried out after 24 weeks in very limited circumstances. The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 states it is a criminal offence to try to cause your own abortion.

It is alleged in this case that the pregnancy was past 24 weeks and was not carried out by a registered medical practitioner.

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